If your at-home baking and gardening pursuits have reached a plateau, Ralph Lauren has a new vehicle for flexing your creativity. The designer is letting shoppers take the driver’s seat with his new custom packable jacket and build their own creation. Outside of made-to-measure tailoring, it’s the brand’s most personalized service yet.
Launching October 22nd, the new program allows shoppers to customize one of Lauren’s best-selling pieces of outerwear: the packable quilted down jacket. The lightweight yet insulating layer is the kind of practical, versatile staple that’s a welcome addition to any wardrobe—such range makes it an ideal canvas for expressing one’s personal style. It’s the latest evolution in the brand’s Create Your Own program, which debuted in 2003 with a customizable polo shirt and now encompasses several of Lauren’s most beloved classics—oxford shirts, crewneck sweaters, sweatshirts—that can be personalized in more than 500 different variations.
The packable jacket ups the ante by offering more options than ever before. First you choose a silhouette, either a hooded jacket, mock neck jacket or vest available in men’s, women’s and children’s models. Then you can make selections from a palette of eight colors for the body, sleeves, hood and zippers, a variation of the signature polo pony logo and whatever name or message you’d like inscribed on the inside label. Among all the choices available, there are hundreds of potential combinations.
While the brand has been innovating the on-demand customization model for almost a decade, the new packable jacket marks the first foray into this kind of made-to-order outerwear—for Ralph Lauren or any brand of its stature. Beyond allowing you to create a piece that is uniquely your own (always a perk in the age of social media, when every selfie is an exercise in personal branding) the made-to-order model represents a very timely sustainable alternative to the traditional fashion system.
“Given the shifts in business with Covid, our company looked at various ways to leverage excess materials without creating waste,” David Lauren, the brand’s chief innovation officer, tells Robb Report. By producing pieces on demand, they are able to conserve resources and only manufacture as much as is needed. It’s a principle that’s long been employed in the higher end of tailoring and haute couture, but it’s a significantly bigger deal to apply that practice to more widely available ready-to-wear.
“It is definitely the fashion of the future!” Lauren enthuses. “Not only does on-demand align with our sustainability goals by reducing product inventory and waste, it also eliminates the need for markdowns and allows for rapid fulfillment and flexibility in meeting our consumers’ desires.”
In addition to being smarter about waste, the custom packable jacket is eco-friendly through and through. The exterior is made of recycled nylon and polyester fabrics and, in lieu of conventional down filling, the insulation is comprised of 100 percent Primaloft Thermoplume. This makes Ralph Lauren the first American designer to employ this novel material produced entirely from recycled plastic bottles. It is just the latest in the brand’s recent string of greener practices.
For Earth Day earlier this year, Lauren debuted a capsule collection of polo shirts in a fabric produced from recycled plastic bottles and committed to removing at least 170 million bottles from landfills and oceans and replacing all virgin polyester materials with recycled alternatives by 2025. Even before that, the brand pledged to achieve zero waste landfills by 2023 and a 20 percent reduction in water use across its operations by 2025.
All of which makes a custom packable jacket one of the most virtuous made-to-order commissions you’re likely to make this year. Rarely does being self-serving align with being good for the planet, but this just might be it.